Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 1, 2024


Saturday, March 2, 12:00 Noon
Harry Bridges Plaza
Outside the Ferry Building
San Francisco, California

ANSWER San Francisco -- (415) 821-6545 




Art Against Imprisonment Presents

A Benefit for a New Oakland Mural-

Sumud: Resistance Until Liberation


A collaboration between artists and activists that explores and confronts the deep interconnections between the brutal systems of imprisonment in the U.S. and Palestine.


Caroline Davis on Saxophone

Satya Chima, CCWP

Opium Sabbah, Oakland Jericho Movement


Sunday, March 10, 2:00 P.M.

Eastside Cultural Center

2277 International Blvd., Oakland


For more information contact:




A March in Honor of International Women's Day

Women of the World Unite!

Saturday March 10, 2024, 3:00 P.M.

Federal Plaza (W Adams St & S Dearborn St, Chicago)


This International Women’s Day, we’re uniting to raise our demands on the federal government. From defending LGBTQ & Reproductive Rights to ending the occupation of Palestine, mass incarceration, U.S. intervention in the Philippines, the criminalization of immigrants, exploitation and discrimination in the workplace, the DNC has failed to deliver.


Time after time, the problems at the root of women’s and gender-based oppression go unaddressed. And from our unions to our struggles for liberation, women and their LGBTQ siblings frequently lead the charge against the powers that be. Join us at Federal Plaza, March 10th, 3 PM to raise these demands as we build up to the March on the DNC this August!


RSVP on Facebook:




Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007


Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of March 1, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 30,228,* 71,337 wounded, and more than 380+ Palestinians have been killed and 4,600 wounded by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.  The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) and the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission released a new tally of Palestinians detained by "Israel", revealing that the number of Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank has risen to more than 6,115.

Israel lowers its estimated October 7 death toll from 1,400 to 1,139, 582 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 3,221 wounded**

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 35,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

Source: mondoweiss.net




Comment on the New York Times Editorial titled:

“A U.S. Call for a Humanitarian Cease-Fire in Gaza”

Opinion By The Editorial Board, Feb. 24, 2024





2m ago

The root of the cycles of violence is the occupation. The US policy in Israel/Palestine has been a failure and contributed to the ongoing suffering on both sides. Even though the US has the capacity to help resolve this issue, it lacks the will. 


Consider the following published soon after the occupation started, in September 1967 in an Israeli newspaper by Moshe Machover and others.


Our right to defend ourselves from extermination does not give us the right to oppress others


Occupation entails Foreign Rule

Foreign Rule entails Resistance

Resistance entails Repression

Repression entails Terror and Counter-Terror

The victims of terror are mostly innocent people


Holding on to the occupied territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murder victims


Let us get out of the Occupied Territories immediately



We are all Palestinian

Listen and view this beautiful, powerful, song by Mistahi Corkill on YouTube at:



Here is my new song and music video, We are all Palestinian, linked below. If you find it inspiring, please feel free to share with others. All the best!


Thousands at stadium sing, "You'll Never Walk Alone," and wave Palestinian flags in Scotland.

We are all Palestinian



Labor for Palestine

Thousands of labor representatives marched Saturday, December 16, in Oakland, California. —Photo by Leon Kunstenaar

Video of December 16th Labor rally for Palestine.


Bay Area Unions and Workers Rally and March For Palestine In Oakland


For More Information:


Production of Labor Video Project





Just Like The Nazis Did

By David Rovics


After so many decades of patronage

By the world’s greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

After crushing so many uprisings

Now they’re making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their Final Solution

Just like the Nazis did


They forced refugees into ghettos

Then set the ghettos aflame

Murdering writers and poets

And so no one remember their names

Killing their entire families

The grandparents, women and kids

The uncles and cousins and babies

Just like the Nazis did


They’re bombing all means of sustaining

Human life at all

See the few shelters remaining

Watch as the tower blocks fall

They’re bombing museums and libraries

In order to get rid

Of any memory of the people who lived here

Just like the Nazis did


They’re saying these people are animals

And they should all end up dead

They’re sending soldiers into schools

And shooting children in the head

The rhetoric is identical

And with Gaza off the grid

They’ve already said what happens next

Just like the Nazis did


Words of war for domestic consumption

And lies for all the rest

To try to distract our attention

Among their enablers in the West

Because Israel needs their imports

To keep those pallets on the skids

They need fuel and they need missiles

Just like the Nazis did


They’re using food as a weapon

They’re using water that way, too

They’re trying to kill everyone in Gaza

Or make them flee, it’s true

As the pundits talk of “after the war”

Like with the Fall of Madrid

The victors are preparing for more

Just like the Nazis did


But it’s after the conquest’s complete

If history is any guide

When the occupying army

Is positioned to decide

When disease and famine kills

Whoever may have hid

Behind the ghetto walls

Just like the Nazis did


All around the world

People are trying to tell

There's a genocide unfolding

Ringing alarm bells

But with such a powerful axis

And so many lucrative bids

They know who wants their money

Just like the Nazis did


There's so many decades of patronage

For the world's greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

They're crushing so many uprisings

Now they're making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their final solution

Just like the Nazis did

  Just like the Nazis did

    Just like the Nazis did



Free Julian Assange

Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange


Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:


Find your representatives:



Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 


Leave a message on the White House comment line to 

Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 


             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST


Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 



Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!


Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Join the Fight for Mumia's Life

Since September, Mumia Abu-Jamal's health has been declining at a concerning rate. He has lost weight, is anemic, has high blood pressure and an extreme flair up of his psoriasis, and his hair has fallen out. In April 2021 Mumia underwent open heart surgery. Since then, he has been denied cardiac rehabilitation care including a healthy diet and exercise.

Donate to Mumia Abu-Jamal's Emergency Legal and Medical Defense Fund, Official 2024

Mumia has instructed PrisonRadio to set up this fund. Gifts donated here are designated for the Mumia Abu-Jamal Medical and Legal Defense Fund. If you are writing a check or making a donation in another way, note this in the memo line.

Send to:

 Mumia Medical and Legal Fund c/o Prison Radio

P.O. Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94103

Prison Radio is a project of the Redwood Justice Fund (RJF), which is a California 501c3 (Tax ID no. 680334309) not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the defense of the environment and of civil and human rights secured by law.  Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund PO Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94141



We are saddened to announce the passing of Leonard Peltier’s sister, Linda.


Leonard is humbly requesting help with funeral expenses.


Even a dollar or two would be greatly appreciated.





Dawn Lawson

Personal Assistant Leonard Peltier

Executive Assistant Jenipher Jones, Esq.

Secretary Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee




Leonard Peltier Update - Not One More Year


Coleman 1 has gone on permanent lockdown.

The inmates are supposed to be allowed out two hours a day. I have not heard from Leonard since the 18th. 

The last time I talked to Leonard, he asked where his supporters were. He asked me if anyone cared about these lockdowns.

Leonard lives in a filthy, cold cell 22 to 24 hours a day. He has not seen a dentist in ten years. I asked him, “On a scale of 1 to 10, is your pain level at 13?” He said, “Something like that.” Leonard is a relentless truth-teller. He does not like it when I say things that do not make sense mathematically. 

That is why Leonard remains imprisoned. He will not lie. He will not beg, grovel, or denounce his beliefs. 

Please raise your voice. Ask your representatives why they have abdicated their responsibility to oversee the Bureau of Prisons and ensure they adhere to Constitutional law.

Uhuru, The African People’s Socialist Party, has stepped up for Leonard. NOT ONE MORE YEAR.


Fight for Free Speech – YouTube:



Leonard should not have spent a day in prison. Click “LEARN” on our website to find out what really happened on that reservation: 


A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 
Leonard Peltier

Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

Video at:


Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603



Updates From Kevin Cooper 

A Never-ending Constitutional Violation

A summary of the current status of Kevin Cooper’s case by the Kevin Cooper Defense Committee


      On October 26, 2023, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP wrote a rebuttal in response to the Special Counsel's January 13, 2023 report upholding the conviction of their client Kevin Cooper. A focus of the rebuttal was that all law enforcement files were not turned over to the Special Counsel during their investigation, despite a request for them to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.

      On October 29, 2023, Law Professors Lara Bazelon and Charlie Nelson Keever, who run the six member panel that reviews wrongful convictions for the San Francisco County District Attorney's office, published an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle calling the "Innocence Investigation” done by the Special Counsel in the Cooper case a “Sham Investigation” largely because Cooper has unsuccessfully fought for years to obtain the police and prosecutor files in his case. This is a Brady claim, named for the U.S. Supreme court’s 1963 case establishing the Constitutional rule that defendants are entitled to any information in police and prosecutor's possession that could weaken the state's case or point to innocence. Brady violations are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. The Special Counsel's report faults Cooper for not offering up evidence of his own despite the fact that the best evidence to prove or disprove Brady violations or other misconduct claims are in those files that the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office will not turn over to the Special Counsel or to Cooper's attorneys.

      On December 14, 2023, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), Mary Smith, sent Governor Gavin Newsom a three page letter on behalf of the ABA stating in part that Mr.Cooper's counsel objected to the state's failure to provide Special Counsel all documents in their possession relating to Mr.Cooper's conviction, and that concerns about missing information are not new. For nearly 40 years Mr.Cooper's attorneys have sought this same information from the state.

      On December 19, 2023, Bob Egelko, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the ABA letter to the Governor that the prosecutors apparently withheld evidence from the Governor's legal team in the Cooper case.

      These are just a few recent examples concerning the ongoing failure of the San Bernardino County District Attorney to turn over to Cooper's attorney's the files that have been requested, even though under the law and especially the U.S. Constitution, the District Attorney of San Bernardino county is required to turn over to the defendant any and all material and or exculpatory evidence that they have in their files. Apparently, they must have something in their files because they refuse to turn them over to anyone.

      The last time Cooper's attorney's received files from the state, in 2004, it wasn't from the D.A. but a Deputy Attorney General named Holly Wilkens in Judge Huff's courtroom. Cooper's attorneys discovered a never before revealed police report showing that a shirt was discovered that had blood on it and was connected to the murders for which Cooper was convicted, and that the shirt had disappeared. It had never been tested for blood. It was never turned over to Cooper's trial attorney, and no one knows where it is or what happened to it. Cooper's attorneys located the woman who found that shirt on the side of the road and reported it to the Sheriff's Department. She was called to Judge Huff's court to testify about finding and reporting that shirt to law enforcement. That shirt was the second shirt found that had blood on it that was not the victims’ blood. This was in 2004, 19 years after Cooper's conviction.

      It appears that this ongoing constitutional violation that everyone—from the Special Counsel to the Governor's legal team to the Governor himself—seems to know about, but won't do anything about, is acceptable in order to uphold Cooper's conviction.

But this type of thing is supposed to be unacceptable in the United States of America where the Constitution is supposed to stand for something other than a piece of paper with writing on it. How can a Governor, his legal team, people who support and believe in him ignore a United States citizen’s Constitutional Rights being violated for 40 years in order to uphold a conviction?

      This silence is betrayal of the Constitution. This permission and complicity by the Governor and his team is against everything that he and they claim to stand for as progressive politicians. They have accepted the Special Counsel's report even though the Special Counsel did not receive the files from the district attorney that may not only prove that Cooper is innocent, but that he was indeed framed by the Sheriff’s Department; and that evidence was purposely destroyed and tampered with, that certain witnesses were tampered with, or ignored if they had information that would have helped Cooper at trial, that evidence that the missing shirt was withheld from Cooper's trial attorney, and so much more.

      Is the Governor going to get away with turning a blind eye to this injustice under his watch?

      Are progressive people going to stay silent and turn their eyes blind in order to hopefully get him to end the death penalty for some while using Cooper as a sacrificial lamb?

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)




The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



Sign the petition:




Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!

Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression



Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 


The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 


Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.


Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 


State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) Gazan authorities say that more than 100 people were killed and hundreds injured.

By Hiba Yazbek and Aaron Boxerman, Feb. 29, 2024


The official Palestinian Authority news agency said people were rushed to hospitals after Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd gathered near aid trucks in Gaza City killing and injuring dozens of people. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Israeli forces opened fire on Thursday as a crowd gathered near a convoy of aid trucks in Gaza City in a chaotic scene where dozens were killed and injured, according to the official Palestinian Authority news agency and an Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.


The details of what happened were unclear, with Palestinian and Israeli officials offering starkly different accounts.


The Gazan health authorities said that more than 100 people were killed and more than 700 injured in a “massacre.” The official Palestinian Authority news agency, Wafa, reported that “Israeli tanks had opened fire with machine guns at thousands” waiting for aid to arrive.


The Israeli military said in two statements that Gazans had surrounded aid trucks and “looted the supplies.” As a result, dozens were “killed and injured from pushing, trampling and being run over by the trucks,” the military said. It did not directly address the Palestinian claims of machine gun fire and said it was investigating the incident.


An Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while the matter is still under investigation, said Israeli soldiers securing the passage of the aid convoy had opened fire after a crowd approached the forces in a manner that the military said posed a threat. The official did not indicate whether the military had fired at the crowd or in its vicinity.


Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have become increasingly desperate for food as the United Nations and other relief groups struggle to deliver supplies amid Israel’s nearly five-month-old military offensive. Distribution has also been hampered by a breakdown in law and order, with Gazans seizing food from trucks.


Such aid is absolutely critical for the more than two million residents of Gaza.


The territory has been under an almost complete siege since the war began on Oct. 7 with an attack on Israel led by Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that had long controlled Gaza. The United Nations recently warned that at least of quarter of Gaza’s population is “one step away from famine,” and the Gazan health ministry said on Wednesday that at least six children had died in the territory from dehydration and malnutrition.


The ministry said that the death toll from the incident on Thursday was expected to rise as wounded Palestinians arrived at Al-Shifa Hospital, where medical staff were “unable to deal with the volume and type of injuries” amid a lack of medical supplies and staff.


Wounded people were arriving at two other hospitals in the north as well, including Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to the hospital director.


Late last month, a strike hit a crowd of people waiting for aid trucks in Gaza City, killing multiple people and injuring scores of others, Gazan health authorities said.



2) Palestinian leaders condemn the deaths of civilians gathered for food aid.

By Hiba Yazbek reporting from Amman, Jordan, Feb. 29, 2024


Three men carry a body wrapped in a white sheet.

Carrying the bodies of people killed after Israeli forces opened fire near Gaza City where people had gathered to collect food aid, on Thursday. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Palestinian leaders, Arab officials and international aid groups issued condemnations on Thursday after dozens of civilians were killed as Israeli forces opened fire in northern Gaza where people had gathered to collect food aid.


The Palestinian Authority, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, called the deaths a “heinous act” by Israeli forces and demanded that the international community, especially Israel’s chief ally the United States, intervene to stop Israel’s military offensive.


“The killing of this large number of innocent civilian victims who risked their livelihood is considered an integral part of the genocidal war committed by the occupation government against our people,” the Palestinian Authority’s presidency said in a statement.


The circumstances of what happened on Thursday morning remained unclear. Gazan officials said that Israeli tanks had opened fire with machine guns at a crowd of thousands who were waiting for food that has been increasingly scarce amid Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. An Israeli official said that the crowd had approached Israeli forces in a threatening manner, and that soldiers had opened fire.


An official with Hamas, the armed group at war with Israel in Gaza, accused Israel of targeting “masses of citizens” who were desperately seeking food “to suppress the hunger of their children,” and warned that the killings could derail talks aimed at reaching a cease-fire.


“We will not allow the path of negotiations, through which we seek to end the human suffering of our people that was created by the occupation, to be a cover for the enemy’s continued crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip,” the official, Izzat Al-Rishq, said in a statement on social media.


Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry denounced Israel for “the targeting of defenseless civilians” and urged the international community to “take a firm stance by obligating Israel to respect international humanitarian law.”


The Jordanian foreign minister criticized what he called a “monstrous act” and urged world leaders to take greater action to protect Palestinians.


Oxfam, the international charity, said it was “appalled” by the reports of the incident. “Israel deliberately targeting civilians after starving them is a gross violation of international humanitarian laws and our humanity,” the group said.


B’tselem, an Israeli human rights advocacy group, said that Palestinians in Gaza were suffering because of “the humanitarian crisis Israel has intentionally created,” and that the large crowd had gathered because of desperation.


“Whether they were shot or trampled to death, intentionally opening fire at civilians is a severe violation of international law and constitutes a war crime,” the group said in a statement. “This is especially grave given a crowd of thousands begging for aid.”


Rawan Sheikh Ahmad contributed reporting from Haifa, Israel.



3) The death toll in Gaza surpasses 30,000, the local health ministry says.

By Victoria Kim, Feb. 29, 2024


A destroyed building whose remaining rooms are open to the air amid rubble.

Rubble around Al-Farouk Mosque after an airstrike in Rafah in southern Gaza last week. Credit...Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The death toll in Gaza passed a somber milestone on Thursday as the local health ministry reported that more than 30,000 people had been killed in the war since Oct. 7.


The number of deaths since Israel launched its military offensive against Hamas in Gaza had already surpassed the tolls of any previous Arab conflict with Israel when it rose above 20,000 in December. Many experts say the official toll is very likely an undercount, given the difficulty of accurately tallying deaths amid unrelenting fighting, communications disruptions, a collapsing medical system and people still believed to be under rubble.


Still, the reported figure is staggering — roughly one person killed for every 73 Palestinians in Gaza, whose population is about 2.2 million.


The figures provided by the Gazan health ministry do not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Many international observers have said they believe that the ministry’s overall toll is reliable, while the proportion of Hamas-affiliated fighters among those killed remains unclear.


An article published in November in the British medical journal The Lancet said that an analysis of the first weeks of mortality reports from the health ministry “suggested reasonable data quality” and that the deaths were “among Gazan population groups that are likely to be largely civilian.”


Israel has come under growing international pressure to stop its offensive, and even President Biden, its strongest ally, has expressed growing frustration with the rising death toll and worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But Israeli leaders have insisted that they will continue fighting in order to eliminate Hamas, the armed group that led the Oct. 7 attack on Israel in which officials say at least 1,200 people were killed and 240 others taken hostage, setting off the war.


U.S., Egyptian and Qatari mediators are working to broker a cease-fire and the release of hostages, but the prospects of that remain murky.


On Wednesday, Hamas’s political leader said in a televised speech that while the group was open to making a deal with Israel, it was also ready to continue fighting. He called on Palestinians to march to the Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem in March, raising the prospect of fresh clashes with Israeli security forces around a site holy to both Muslims and Jews.


In addition to bearing the risk of being killed in strikes or fighting, Palestinians are living with the growing specter of famine and disease.


The health ministry has said infants have died from dehydration and malnutrition in recent days. A physician who was in Gaza in late January told CBS’s “60 Minutes” this week that people were dying “in a fully treatable situation” because of the lack of basic medical supplies.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said on Thursday in a social media post marking the 30,000 deaths that most of those killed in Gaza were women and children.


“This horrific violence and suffering must end,” he wrote. “Cease-fire.”



4) The U.N.’s top rights official condemns the ‘brutality’ of Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

By Nick Cumming-Bruce reporting from Geneva, Feb. 29, 2024


People at semicircular tables in a large meeting room with a brightly painted ceiling.

Volker Türk, the U.N.’s top human rights official, addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday. Credit...Denis Balibouse/Reuters

The top human rights official at the United Nations condemned Israel’s military offensive in Gaza in an especially forceful statement on Thursday and warned that an assault on Rafah would add a new level of horror to the war.


The terror attacks by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups on Oct. 7 were “appalling and entirely wrong,” said Volker Türk, the U.N.’s high commissioner for human rights. But, he added, “so is the brutality of the Israeli response.”


He laid out the toll of its military campaign: what the United Nations estimates is 100,000 dead, injured or missing Palestinians, amounting to one in 20 of Gaza’s people; the unprecedented number of deaths of U.N. employees and journalists; some 17,000 Palestinian children orphaned or separated from their families.


“There appear to be no bounds to, no words to capture, the horrors that are unfolding before our eyes in Gaza,” he said in an address to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. “This is carnage.”


Mr. Türk was opening a council discussion of a report by his office on developments in Gaza and the West Bank, highlighting the human and physical devastation of the war in Gaza and the “profoundly discriminatory systems of control” and “endless humiliation” of Israel’s policies in occupied territories.


His statement drew a rebuke from Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, who condemned it as “an affront” to the victims of the Oct. 7 attack.


Ms. Eilon Shahar said that the United Nations and the council had ignored Israel’s security concerns for years, and she noted that Mr. Türk’s statement did not mention the hundreds of Israelis killed in attacks before and after Oct. 7. “Do they not matter?” she asked.


Ms. Eilon Shahar defended Israel’s campaign, saying its approach to dealing with terrorist groups that were using civilians as human shields was consistent with international law. Turning to acknowledge two former hostages behind her, Aviva Siegel and Raz Ben-Ami, whose husbands are still being held in Gaza, she said the high commissioner had reduced them to “a mere footnote” in the council’s discourse.


Mr. Türk said that Israel’s blockade and siege of Gaza amounted to collective punishment of its population, which is a war crime, and could amount to using starvation as a weapon of war, also a war crime. “All people in Gaza are at imminent risk of famine,” he said, and many in the north of the territory, which international aid agencies have been struggling to reach for weeks, were already reportedly starving.


Israel’s planned ground assault on Rafah “would take the nightmare being inflicted on people in Gaza into a new, dystopian dimension,” he added, urging states with influence to try to avert it.


The U.N. human rights office has recorded many incidents that may amount to war crimes by Israeli forces, Mr. Türk said, warning of a real risk that any arms supplied to Israel could be used in violations of international law. In remarks aimed at Israel’s main arms suppliers, a list headed by the United States, he said countries should stop enabling such violations.


The United States has said that it supports Israel’s right to self-defense and that U.S. officials have made clear that Israel must comply with international humanitarian law, including taking steps to minimize harm to civilians. Israel has rejected allegations that it has committed war crimes in its operations.



5) In Britain, Shockwaves From Israel-Hamas War Are Jolting Domestic Politics

The United States and several European nations have been caught up in toxic debates that have altered election campaigns and led to eruptions of inflammatory language over the conflict.

By Mark Landler, Feb. 29, 2024

Reporting from London


Palestinian flags at a nighttime protest in London.

Protesters in London calling for cease-fire in Gaza this month. Credit...Isabel Infantes/Reuters

Inside Britain’s Parliament, lawmakers jeered, booed, and stormed out of the House of Commons to protest the speaker’s handling of a vote calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Outside, a crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators projected the slogan, “From the river to the sea,” on to the facade of Big Ben, drawing denunciations from those who view it as a rallying cry for the eradication of Israel.


The chaotic scenes in London last week captured how Israel’s war in Gaza is reverberating far beyond the Middle East. From the United States to Europe, the brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants and Israel’s devastating response has inflamed passions, upended politics, and heightened tensions within Muslim and Jewish communities.


The fights are not only over intractable questions of war, peace, and moral justice. In Britain, political parties and the public are not actually that divided over how to respond to Gaza; a solid majority back a cease-fire. Instead, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has also become a cudgel for opponents to brandish against each other.


The governing Conservative Party seized on anti-Israel comments made by a Labour Party parliamentary candidate to accuse Labour of failing to stamp out a legacy of anti-Semitism in its ranks. Labour pointed to disparaging comments by a Tory lawmaker about London’s Muslim mayor as evidence of simmering Islamophobia among Conservatives.


Both parties maneuvered furiously in Parliament over the cease-fire resolution, not because they differed much on the substance but because the Conservatives saw a chance to surface rifts within Labour over Britain’s initial backing of Israel.


“It’s an example of how a really serious issue has been distorted by the prism of party politics in Britain,” said Steven Fielding, an emeritus professor of political history at the University of Nottingham.


In the United States, anger among some Democrats at President Biden’s robust support of Israel fueled a protest vote in Michigan’s primary this week, raising questions about whether the war could alter the outcome of a closely-fought presidential election.


In France, President Emmanuel Macron has been forced to tack away from his pro-Israel stance under pressure from France’s large Muslim population. In Germany, with its responsibility for the Holocaust, support for Israel has remained a bedrock principle, though the foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, has recently begun emphasizing the importance of the “survival of the Palestinians.”


The conflict has awakened ghosts in British politics as well: When Lee Anderson, the blunt-spoken Conservative lawmaker, said “Islamists” had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, he was trafficking in the kind of anti-Muslim sentiment that flared two decades ago after London was hit with terrorist attacks by Islamist militants.


When the Labour candidate, Azhar Ali, claimed that Israel “had allowed” the surprise attack by Hamas, he rekindled memories of the anti-Semitism that contaminated the Labour Party under its previous leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The current leader, Keir Starmer, purged Mr. Corbyn as part of a campaign to root out anti-Jewish bias. He also pulled the party’s support for Mr. Ali’s candidacy.


“Because of the Corbyn era, Israel has become part of a culture war in this country in a way that didn’t happen two decades ago,” said Daniel Levy, who runs the US/Middle East Project, a research group based in London and New York.


Mr. Levy acknowledged that many lawmakers were acting out of conviction on Gaza. But the furies of the last two weeks, he argued, were less about the rising death toll or the best way to handle Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than about the vexed history and politics that envelop Jewish and Muslim issues in Britain.


For the Labour Party, the next awkward moment in this drama could come on Thursday, when voters in Rochdale, north of Manchester, will elect a new member of Parliament to replace a Labour lawmaker who died in January. Although the party disavowed Mr. Ali, he remains on the ballot and could still win the seat.


But Mr. Ali’s messy late-stage suspension has opened the door to an insurgent candidate, George Galloway, a onetime Labour lawmaker now running as the leader of the leftist fringe Workers Party of Britain. He is appealing to Rochdale’s significant Muslim population with a militantly pro-Palestinian message, arguing that many Britons are “revolted” by Labour’s support for Israel.


“If George Galloway does well enough,” Mr. Levy said, “it will encourage a whole slew of Labour outriders to run on this issue.”


That could give Mr. Starmer further headaches as he prepares for a general election against the Conservatives later this year. But with Labour holding a lead of 20 percentage points or more over the Tories in polls, analysts said it was unlikely that the Gaza conflict would tilt the election’s outcome.


In recent weeks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government has also moved its position enough on the conflict to blur differences with the opposition. On a trip to the Falkland Islands last week, his foreign secretary, David Cameron, called for a cease-fire, saying the fighting must stop “right now.”


“David Cameron and Keir Starmer have got the same position on Israel-Gaza, and both have the same position as two-thirds of the public,” said Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future, a research institute that focuses on immigration, race and identity.


Still, if Mr. Starmer were to win the general election, Israel could pose a lingering problem for him in government. In 2006, Britain’s last elected Labour prime minister, Tony Blair, staunchly supported Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s invasion of Lebanon. The war went badly, and Mr. Blair was hit by the collateral damage back home.


“Arguably, that was a bigger political problem for Tony even than the Iraq war,” said Jonathan Powell, who was Mr. Blair’s chief of staff.


For the Tories, the Gaza conflict presents a different set of challenges. Like the Republican Party in the United States, it has staked out a strong position in favor of Israel, one that generates little internal dissent. But the Tories are now dealing with fallout from anti-Muslim statements made by right-wing figures like Mr. Anderson and Suella Braverman, a former home secretary.


After the debate in Parliament over a cease-fire, which turned ugly because of a fight over how the speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, handled it, Ms. Braverman wrote in the Daily Telegraph that “the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge now.” The police, she said, gave protesters free rein. In such a febrile atmosphere, there are rising worries about threats of violence against members of Parliament.


Mr. Anderson has refused to apologize for saying that Mr. Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates.” Islamists, he said to the right-wing GB News channel, “got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London.”


Mr. Khan called the comments “racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Muslim,” and Mr. Sunak, under pressure from prominent Muslim Conservatives, suspended Mr. Anderson from the party. But now Mr. Sunak is facing criticism from the party’s right wing for punishing a figure popular with some voters in England’s “red wall,” who were critical to the party’s victory in the 2019 general election.


Given the Tories’ woeful standing in the polls, some analysts said there was a good bit of posturing in the furies over Gaza, part of a broader contest for leadership of the party or for visibility after an expected election defeat.


“There are a lot of Tory M.P.’s who are going to lose their seats, so they are looking for media opportunities,” said Ben Ansell, a professor of comparative democratic institutions at Oxford University.


But the appeal to anti-Muslim sentiment also reflects something else: a last-gasp effort by the Conservatives to derail the momentum of Labour.


“If you look at what Conservatives use against Labour, it’s that you can’t trust them because they will be controlled by others,” Mr. Katwala said. “At the moment, they’re switching from ‘woke leftists’ to ‘the Islamists.’”



6) Starvation Is Stalking Gaza’s Children

By Megan K. Stack, Feb. 29, 2024


Children reach out with pots in hand, waiting in line for food.

Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Standing over a tiny bundle wrapped in a sheet on a hospital bed, a young father drapes his hand across his face in despair. Mousa Salem, a Gaza photographer who videotaped this sad tableau and sent it to me, said the sheet swaddled 2-month-old Mohamed al-Zayegh, who died on Friday in Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City. “Nutrition? What nutrition?” a staff member in scrubs says in the video. “The mother gave birth to him during the war.”


“The health of the mother affects the health of the baby,” he added. “This is very well known in the science of medicine and health. And all of this piled on the child and he got sick, he has a weak immune system. “


Another infant, 2-month-old Mahmoud Fattouh, died of malnutrition on Friday at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, according to Al Jazeera, which cited a news agency thought to be close to Hamas. “The baby has not been fed any milk for days,” a paramedic who took the child to the hospital said in a video verified by Al Jazeera.


Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, the head of the pediatric department of Kamal Adwan Hospital, said this month he was seeing a number of deaths among children, especially newborns. “Signs of weakness and paleness are apparent on newborns because the mother is malnourished,” he said.


Reports of death by starvation are difficult to verify from a distance. The hunger in Gaza is caused but also partly hidden by a pitiless war that has obliterated hospitals, flooded morgues and damaged communication networks, leaving us to cobble together what’s happening from scraps of information. Relief organizations in Gaza struggle to figure out whether the crisis has crossed formally into famine; statistically, the clearest indication is that at least two people out of every 10,000 die every day from starvation. They measure the circumference of children’s upper arms to document the peril of their weight loss.


These children are not suffering from drought or crop failure or some other natural disaster. Their hunger is a man-made catastrophe. The Israeli government has slowed and even prevented food aid from entering the besieged Gaza Strip. Even when trucks do get through, Israeli bombardment and, more recently, the growing desperation of hungry mobs have turned food distribution into an arduous and sometimes deadly endeavor.


To a lesser but important extent, people in Gaza are hungry because the U.S. government — Israel’s pre-eminent military aid provider and political defender — has failed to use its considerable leverage to force Israel to let Gaza eat.


The threat of starvation is believed to be most intense in the bomb-scarred remains of northern Gaza, where by January, nutrition screenings found that more than 15 percent of children ages 6 months to 23 months were acutely malnourished, a condition rarely seen in Gaza before the current war. “Such a decline in a population’s nutritional status in three months is unprecedented globally,” UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the U.N. World Food Program said in reporting the latest grim statistics last week.


Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, troubled by stories of starvation, texted Cindy McCain, the head of the World Food Program, to ask whether “children have now crossed the awful threshold from being on the verge of starvation to dying of starvation,” he said in the Senate on Feb. 12.


“She wrote back, and I quote, ‘This is true,’” Mr. Van Hollen said, reading from Ms. McCain’s text message. “‘We are unable to get in enough food to keep people from the brink. Famine is imminent. I wish I had better news.’”


Michael Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, put it bluntly: “This is a population that is starving to death.”


We should not pretend these deaths were inevitable. All of this we already knew: Palestinian residents of Gaza have been reduced to eating grass. They drink fetid water. Grains meant for animal feed are pulverized into makeshift flour, but even that lowly sustenance has been running out. Palestinian starvation has been documented and reported. We knew.


It is a harsh death. Muscles weaken and shrink. The immune system falters, and infections take hold. Vital organs break down. The weakest die first — babies, the elderly, the sick.


In the early days of its onslaught, Israel’s defense minister declared that food, electricity and fuel would be cut off to Gaza’s 2.2 million inhabitants, nearly half of whom are children. Israel eventually began allowing some food and medical supplies to enter, but aid organizations warned it wasn’t enough.


As international disapproval has mounted, Israeli officials have said there was no shortage of food in Gaza and denied that they were responsible for people going hungry, accusing Hamas of pilfering aid bound for civilians and saying the United Nations failed to distribute food.


But these contentions have been dismissed by aid organizations trying to move supplies into Gaza. Israel has been blamed for creating byzantine delays at crossings and for failing to ensure safe passage in Gaza. It is accused of opening fire on U.N. aid vehicles returning from delivering aid and on crowds waiting for food. Acute hunger only increases the chaos: The World Food Program suspended food deliveries to northern Gaza last week because looters and desperate crowds were attacking the trucks. Jordanian and French military planes dropped food and other supplies into central Gaza on Monday, but some of the boxes fell into the sea, forcing people to scramble into the water to retrieve them.


On Monday the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said it had a new plan to provide aid to Gaza but gave no details.


The Palestinian writer Laila El-Haddad, who has family members in Gaza, told me that she has spoken to relatives who haven’t had fruit, vegetables or meat in three months. They are trying to survive, she said, by hunting for canned food and foraging for wild plants like sorrel and mallow. A few miles away, meanwhile, Israeli protesters have physically blocked aid trucks from entering the Gaza Strip.


The ominous absurdity of the situation is impossible to overstate. A freighter with food bound for Gaza, enough to feed more than one million people, languished for weeks at the Israeli port of Ashdod because Israeli customs authorities refused to process the food. The United States paid for 90,000 metric tons of flour on the freighter, and President Biden thanked Israel for letting it pass — except that Israel had done the opposite.


The Israeli finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich — an extremist settler in the West Bank who once said, “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people” — said he wouldn’t allow the aid through because it was headed for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, the main provider of public services and aid in Gaza. His office said it was trying to find an alternate route because he feared the food would fall into Hamas’s hands. Israel eventually said it would allow the American flour to be distributed by the World Food Program, but it is not clear whether that has happened.


While the United States can’t be directly blamed for the hunger in Gaza, the Biden administration shares moral responsibility. Just when the spiraling humanitarian crisis should have been made a priority, the Biden administration opted instead to showily withhold funding to UNRWA. This was done even though aid groups say there is no other organization with comparable ability to distribute food in Gaza.


Mr. Biden’s decision came after Israel shared intelligence that a dozen UNRWA staff members played a role in the Hamas rampage of Oct. 7, which left roughly 1,200 people dead in Israel and some 240 more taken as hostages to the Gaza Strip.


These were, unquestionably, serious allegations, and UNRWA took them seriously, firing most of the implicated staff members even before investigating. The U.N. has begun two investigations into the allegations.


But the response from the Biden administration and the at least 15 other governments that suspended support to UNRWA is dangerously disproportionate. Even if the allegations turn out to be true — and they may well be — this scandal touches only about 0.1 percent of UNRWA’s roughly 13,000 Gaza staff members.


There is no tipping point at which the crimes of a handful of people justify kneecapping the main food source while famine looms.


When the International Court of Justice found it “plausible” that Israel had committed genocidal acts in Gaza, the judges warned of the urgent need for aid to relieve “catastrophic conditions.” On Monday the UNRWA commissioner general, Philippe Lazzarini, said that compared with January, only half as much aid is getting in.


“After the I.C.J. resolution, people expected that aid would enter in bigger quantities,” said Ammar Al-Dwaik, the director general of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights. “But what is happening is the opposite.”



7) Arab American Fury Toward Biden

By Charles M. Blow, Feb. 28, 2024

“‘I’m going to live under Trump, because I survived under Trump, because he’s my enemy,’ he says. ‘I cannot live under someone who pretends to be my friend.’”


A woman holds a sign that says, “Vote uncommitted.”

A Listen to Michigan volunteer near a polling place in Dearborn on Tuesday. Credit...Ali Lapetina for The New York Times

On Monday, at a hip Arab coffee shop in Dearborn, Mich., Nihad Awad, a co-founder and the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, told me that as a Palestinian American Muslim who voted for Joe Biden in 2020, he feels “betrayed bitterly” over the administration’s position on the war in Gaza.


So he was in the Detroit area this week to support the campaign to get voters to choose “uncommitted” in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday. But as our conversation progressed, it became clear to me that his objective is not simply to send President Biden a message about the war and make him shift his policy, as is the aim of many I spoke with in Michigan in the past few days. Awad wants more.


He doesn’t only want Biden to be politically corrected; he wants him politically crushed.


Of the president, Awad says, “I don’t think he can continue to lead our country.” When I asked if there is anything Biden can do to change his mind, Awad said, “He can retire.”


Earlier, I had put the same question to Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, who said that for most Muslims, anything short of Biden “resurrecting 29,000 dead Palestinians like Jesus” would mean that they will never vote for him again.


Of course, working to defeat Biden also means aiding the return of Donald Trump, but Awad and Walid seem to have made their peace with that.


Awad said he doesn’t like Trump and doesn’t welcome a second Trump term, but he’s prepared to accept that outcome for the sake of punishing Biden. “I’m going to live under Trump, because I survived under Trump, because he’s my enemy,” he says. “I cannot live under someone who pretends to be my friend.”


He believes that proving a point about the power of the Muslim vote is worth it. “Is it going to be painful? Four more years under Trump?” he asks. “I say yes, and we are bracing for it,” adding, “At least what I have accomplished is, I told every politician, ‘Don’t take us out of the equation, because you will miss.’”


Walid said that in a lesser-of-two-evils debate, Trump was, in some ways, the lesser. As he put it, “As bad as Mr. Trump’s rhetoric was, and him putting a travel ban on five Muslim countries, he wasn’t overseeing and actively arming a genocide.” It’s a view that echoes the sentiment expressed in the headline of an October opinion essay for Al Jazeera by Haidar Eid, an associate professor at Al Aqsa University in Gaza: “In dehumanizing the Palestinians, Biden had surpassed Trump.”


But what about the many Americans who might be horrified at the suggestion that they might just have to live through another Trump administration? No important change is going to be painless, Awad said, before invoking the name of Aaron Bushnell, the active-duty senior airman who died after setting himself on fire on Sunday in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington while yelling, “Free Palestine!”


His repeated mentions of Bushnell underscored for me the intensity of Awad’s argument — how for him the issue goes beyond the realm of the merely political.


I met back up with Awad on Monday evening at the Masjid Mu’ath Bin Jabal, a mosque in Detroit, where he addressed a large gathering in Arabic (I listened via a translator provided by the mosque), and argued that because Muslims voted for Biden in 2020, they’re complicit in the part the president has played in Gaza, and that it was, therefore, their obligation to vote uncommitted as a form of repentance.


Awad was joined by Khalid Turaani, one of the organizers of the Abandon Biden movement. After the meeting, Turaani told me that he doesn’t want the Biden administration to bargain with Muslim voters over the prospect of a cease-fire in Gaza — he thinks Biden must do that anyway. He said, “I and my community need to punish Joe Biden by making him a one-term president.” Awad said that Biden’s long career in national politics should end “with the shame and the disgrace of the genocide in Gaza.”


Muslims represent only around 1 percent of the overall electorate, but Awad believes there are enough Muslim voters in Michigan and Georgia, two swing states, to make it nearly impossible for Biden to win re-election without their support.


So how many uncommitted votes did organizers need in order to consider their campaign in Michigan a success? On Tuesday morning, Abbas Alawieh — a former staffer both for Representative Cori Bush of Missouri and Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and a spokesman for Listen to Michigan, a group that helped lead the uncommitted campaign — told me, “We feel like our movement has already succeeded because we know that we’ve generated a moment.”


But Awad put a number on his metric for success: 30,000 to 50,000 votes. That goal was shattered Tuesday as more than 100,000 people voted uncommitted in the Democratic primary.


I’m not someone who dabbles in election predictions, so I’m not going to declare that the Israel-Hamas war will end Biden’s presidency the way that the Vietnam War effectively ended Lyndon B. Johnson’s. But as my colleague Michelle Goldberg wrote last week, even if Biden can’t completely satisfy those most horrified by his approach in Gaza, “if he doesn’t do more to try, he’s in danger of losing Michigan in November.”


Any notion that the voters now seething over America’s role in Gaza will simply “come home” and vote for Biden in the general election needs serious adjustment.


For some voters, this isn’t just a policy dispute. It’s a moral mission, and the mark of victory is a Biden defeat. The question now is, how large is that constituency?



8) Questions still surround the convoy disaster as clamor grows for a cease-fire.

By Victoria Kim and Raja Abdulrahim, March 1, 2024


A woman sitting on the floor, surrounded by three people lying on the floor and covered by blankets.

Injured Palestinians at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City after Israeli forces opened fire as a crowd gathered near an aid convoy. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

World leaders on Friday intensified their demands on Israel to get more aid into Gaza and provide more answers about the deaths of scores of Palestinians in a scene of chaos surrounding a humanitarian convoy its forces were securing.


Many questions remained unanswered as the Israeli military and Gazan officials offered divergent accounts of one of the deadliest known disasters involving civilians in the nearly five-month war. Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, called on the Israeli military to “fully explain” the killings in northern Gaza on Thursday and joined the calls for a cease-fire that would allow for the release of Israeli hostages and for more aid to enter the territory.


“People in Gaza are closer to death than to life,” she said on social media. “More humanitarian aid must come in. Immediately.”


France’s foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné, called for an independent investigation and said the deadly chaos surrounding the convoy was the result of a humanitarian catastrophe that has left Gazans “fighting for food.”


“What is happening is indefensible and unjustifiable,” Mr. Séjourné told France Inter on Friday. “Israel must be able to hear it and it must stop.”


The disaster unfolded Thursday morning as thousands of hungry people gathered near a food convoy in Gaza City, with Israeli troops and tanks nearby. It was a scene increasingly common in Gaza, where Palestinians fighting starvation amid Israel’s war against Hamas are regularly massing around the relatively small number of aid trucks being allowed into the territory.


What happened next is still unclear. Gazan health officials say that Israeli troops fired on the crowd, killing more than 100 people and injuring 700 others in what they called “a massacre.” An Israeli military spokesman said that soldiers had fired warning shots into the air before opening fire “when the mob moved in a manner which endangered them.” The military said most of the deaths had been caused by trampling and that people had also been run over by the aid trucks.


Neither account could be independently verified, and partial drone video footage released by the Israeli military, along with social media videos of the scene analyzed by The New York Times, do not fully explain the sequence of events. Videos show people crawling and ducking for cover. A hospital in Gaza City said it had received bodies of at least a dozen people who had been shot and had treated more than 100 people with gunshot wounds.


An Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, told Britain’s Channel 4 that soldiers had been providing security for the convoy, which involved private vehicles distributing food supplies from international donors. Israel has come under growing international pressure to facilitate more aid deliveries as groups including the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians — the main group distributing humanitarian supplies in Gaza — say it has become too lawless and chaotic to operate in much of the territory, especially the north.


Samantha Power, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said that regardless of how they had died, it was clear that people were killed or injured while trying to get food for their families.


“That cannot happen,” she said. “Desperate civilians trying to feed their starving families should not be shot at.”


She urged Israel to open more border crossings to facilitate aid reaching northern Gaza and to ease customs restrictions that she said leave flour sitting in ports while people near starvation.


The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called on world leaders to impose sanctions on Israel to force it to protect civilians and ensure their humanitarian needs, arguing that it was obligated to do so under international law as an occupying power.


“They completely denied the truth of the massacre that they committed against unarmed civilians exhausted by hunger and thirst as a result of racist policies,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.


Refugees International, an advocacy group, demanded an immediate independent investigation into the disaster and called on the United States to pause military aid to Israel until those responsible are held accountable.


“There is nothing that can justify the killing of civilians desperate to receive lifesaving relief for their families,” the group said in a statement.



9) Israeli military videos provide a limited view of what happened at a deadly scene in Gaza.

By Aric Toler, Robin Stein, Haley Willis and Ainara Tiefenthäler, Mar. 1, 2024


The Israeli military released a heavily edited video to deflect blame, but the footage did little to clear up what led to mass casualties as people crowded around food aid trucks in northern Gaza. Credit...Israel Defense Forces (Screenshot)

Israeli forces opened fire on Thursday as a crowd gathered near a convoy of aid trucks in Gaza City in a chaotic scene in which scores were killed and injured, according to Gazan officials and the Israeli military, which attributed most of the deaths to a stampede.


The military released fragments of drone video and declined to provide unedited footage, adding to the confusion around the series of events that killed and wounded many Gazans hoping to find food.



10) A witness said he saw people with gunshot wounds and sacks of flour covered in blood.

By Iyad Abuheweila, Abu Bakr Bashir and Matthew Mpoke Bigg

"'The soul is exchanged for a flour sack,' Dr. Al Masri said. He added, 'We have reached famine and the situation is beyond description.'”


Two people hug in front of a crowd. A hospital building is seen in the background.

Mourning outside Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where the injured and dead were taken after Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd near an aid convoy. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Gazan doctor said he saw dozens of dead and injured with gunshot wounds, including to the head, neck and groin, lying in the street on Thursday after Israeli forces opened fire while a crowd was gathered near aid trucks before dawn in Gaza City.


The doctor, Yehia Al Masri, said that he and his family were staying with relatives when they heard shelling and gunfire nearby at around 4 a.m. When the shooting subsided, he ventured outside to an intersection near the coast and encountered a gruesome and desperate scene, with bodies in the street and sacks of flour soaked in blood.


Some of the dead appeared to have died in a stampede, while others appeared to have been hit by the aid trucks that had fled the scene, Dr. Al Masri said.


Driven by hunger, some people had left wounded relatives and friends on the ground to rush to the aid trucks, he added. Others loaded injured people into cars or on carts and then tried to get some flour before heading to the hospital.


“The soul is exchanged for a flour sack,” Dr. Al Masri said. He added, “We have reached famine and the situation is beyond description.”


Dr. Al Masri, who works at Al-Shifa Hospital, said he had provided rudimentary first aid using ropes, string, pieces of wood and cloth torn from the clothes of the injured people themselves because he had no appropriate medical tools. He said he stayed at the scene for several hours before heading to the emergency department at Al-Shifa, the largest medical facility in Gaza, where he helped as the dead and injured continued to arrive.


Gaza’s health ministry has said Al-Shifa and other hospitals in northern Gaza have effectively ceased functioning, saying on Thursday that generators were no longer running and the facilities could not provide lifesaving care.


Dr. Hani Bseso, who works at Al-Shifa, said in a brief voice message that the situation there was “very difficult today,” adding: “With very few medical staff, many injuries and no operating rooms, the doctors were not even sure where to start.”


Around 100 people with gunshot wounds were brought to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City, according to its director, Husam Abu Safiya. The hospital had also received 12 bodies, he said. Another witness at the hospital, Hussam Shabat, 22, a journalist, said all the casualties he had seen had bullet wounds, including to the chest, jaw and shoulder.


Hiba Yazbek contributed reporting.



11) Thousands Turn Out for Navalny’s Funeral in Moscow

The police presence appeared heavy for the service. Some attendees shouted, “No to war” and “Russia will be free” as they marched to the cemetery where the opposition leader was to be buried.

By Valerie Hopkins, March 1, 2024

Reporting from Berlin


Four people carry a coffin into a church as crowds watch from behind fences.

Pallbearers carried the coffin of Aleksei A. Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, during his funeral service in Moscow on Friday. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Thousands of people crowded a neighborhood on Moscow’s outskirts on Friday — some bearing flowers and chanting, “No to war!” — as they tried to catch a glimpse of the funeral for Aleksei A. Navalny. The outpouring turned the opposition leader’s last rites into a striking display of dissent in Russia at a time of deep repression.


The service took place under tight monitoring from the Russian authorities, who have arrested hundreds of mourners at memorial sites since Mr. Navalny died. The police presence was heavy around the church where funeral services began shortly after 2 p.m. local time, but there were no reports of widespread arrests as of the early afternoon.


After a procession to the cemetery, Mr. Navalny’s coffin was placed next to his freshly dug grave. Video live streamed from the site showed his family members and then other mourners kissing him goodbye for the last time. Then his face was covered with a white cloth and the coffin was lowered to the Frank Sinatra song “My Way” and then the final song from “Terminator 2,” which Mr. Navalny considered “the best film on Earth.” Mourners slowly passed by, each taking a handful of dirt and tossing it into the grave.


People had chanted Mr. Navalny’s last name earlier as his coffin was taken into the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Soothe My Sorrows, a Russian Orthodox church in southern Moscow. Images on social media showed attendees lining up, but also security cameras that the local news media reported had been recently installed, and signs forbidding mourners to take pictures or video in the church.


A photograph taken inside the church and shown on Mr. Navalny’s YouTube channel showed him in an open coffin, lying in repose with red and white flowers over his body. His parents held lit candles. His widow, Yulia Navalnaya, who has vowed to carry on his political activities, and his children, Daria and Zakhar, who no longer live in Russia, did not appear to be present.


As the funeral was ending, Ms. Navalnaya shared a post on the social platform X dedicated to her husband.


“Lyosha, thank you for 26 years of absolute happiness,” she wrote, using her husband’s nickname. “Yes, even over the last three years of happiness,” she said, referring to the time Mr. Navalny was in prison. “I don’t know how to live without you, but I will try to make you up there happy for me and proud of me.”


Outside the church, people chanted, “Thank you, Aleksei” and “Love is stronger than fear,” according to videos from the scene. As they gathered next to the cemetery, mourners cried out, “peace for Ukraine — freedom for Russia!” Mourners who came within sight of Mr. Navalny’s mother said “thank you for your son!” One observer, the Novaya Gazeta journalist Elena Milashina, said in a Facebook post that she believed “tens of thousands” of people had assembled. There was no way to verify that figure.


Around 3:15 p.m., videos showed the crowd tossing flowers onto the road as the funeral cortège left the church for the cemetery.


Almost 270,000 people were watching a livestream of the event organized by Mr. Navalny’s allies, while about 150,000 watched coverage on YouTube by the independent TV Rain, according to figures provided by the streaming platform.


The Navalny team accused the authorities of trying to prevent people from sharing photos and videos of the scene. Mikhail Klimaryov, the director of a Russian internet freedom group, the Internet Protection Society, said his group’s data showed that cellphone service in the area had been reduced to the lower-bandwidth 3G standard and described it as a “mobile shutdown.”


Opposition politicians, including Boris Nadezhdin, who sought to run against President Vladimir V. Putin in elections this month on an antiwar platform, and Evgeny Roizman of Yekaterinburg were in attendance, videos of the event showed. The United States ambassador to Russia, Lynne M. Tracy, was also seen in videos of the site outside the church.


Some people traveled from far away to attend the funeral. Anastasia, 19, had flown in from Novosibirsk, 1,800 miles from Moscow, to be present.


“I came here because this is a historic event,” she said in a voice message from the neighborhood where the church service was held. “I think that he is a freer man than all of us,” she said of Mr. Navalny. “He lived as a free man and died as a free man.”


In Russia, it is considered bad luck to give living people an even number of flowers in a bouquet — those are reserved for funerals. But Anastasia said that many mourners carried bouquets with an odd number, “because for them, Navalny lives on.”


When asked on Friday whether he could comment on Mr. Navalny’s political legacy, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said, “I can’t.” He suggested the Kremlin would crack down on anyone who sought to protest during the funeral. “Any unsanctioned gatherings will be in violation of the law,” Mr. Peskov told reporters during a daily phone call.


The funeral was not mentioned among the top stories on the state news agencies RIA Novosti or TASS.


Mr. Navalny’s funeral was held during a period of intense crackdown, and less than three weeks before Mr. Putin seeks another six-year term in elections scheduled for mid-March.


At least 400 people have been detained since Mr. Navalny’s death, according to the watchdog OVD-Info, including some for simply laying flowers at improvised memorials to him. A priest who sought to hold a funeral prayer for Mr. Navalny in St. Petersburg was detained while leaving his house.


Hours before the planned mourning rites, Mr. Navalny’s family had not received his body from a Moscow morgue, a spokeswoman said. But the body was eventually handed over around 12:30 p.m. local time, she said.


In the past two weeks, members of Mr. Navalny’s team complained repeatedly about the difficulty of negotiating with the Russian authorities to have Mr. Navalny’s body released to his family, which took days, and agreeing on a place to hold the funeral services.


Members of his team described difficulty persuading a church, a cemetery and even a hearse to take part in the burial, saying that the authorities wanted to prevent Mr. Navalny’s funeral from becoming a flashpoint for dissent.


On Thursday, allies of Mr. Navalny, who was 47, described systemic pressure on all hearse operators, saying that several that had agreed to take Mr. Navalny’s body from the church to the cemetery had pulled out at the last minute, citing threats. His team and his wife blamed the Kremlin and Moscow’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin. Their assertions could not be independently verified.


“People in the Kremlin killed him, then they mocked Alexei’s body, then they mocked his mother, and now they mock his memory,” Ms. Navalnaya wrote on Wednesday.


According to Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman, the official medical report concluded that the cause of death was “natural causes,” which his family, supporters and human rights watchdogs dispute. In the past year and a half, Mr. Navalny was ordered to spend 296 days in a punishment isolation cell, known in Russian as “SHIZO.” It is considered the most severe form of legal punishment for inmates in Russian prisons.


“They tortured him with hunger, they tortured him with cold,” his aide Leonid Volkov said during a livestream of the funeral on Mr. Navalny’s YouTube channel. For half a year, he was suing to get access to a dentist, which was eventually denied.


On Friday, the regional branch of a commission that monitors conditions in Russian prisons said it found “no significant violations” in the notoriously harsh penal colony where Mr. Navalny died. When asked if the dissident’s death came up during the inspection, the commission’s local chairperson said it had not.


The Kremlin has rejected the family’s accusations of its involvement, and Mr. Putin has not commented publicly on Mr. Navalny’s death. But the Russian leader authorized the promotion of the deputy director of the country’s Federal Penitentiary Service, Valery Boyarinev, just three days after Mr. Navalny’s death.


And Mr. Putin appeared defiant on Thursday in an annual speech, threatening the West with nuclear escalation and praising Russia’s political system as “one of the foundations of the country’s sovereignty.”


While Mr. Navalny opposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the church where his funeral service was held has shown public support for it. Photos posted on its VK social media page on Monday showed priests in front of the church with a Lada car bought for soldiers participating in what Russia calls its “Special Military Operation.”


There was a fear that anyone who came to the funeral could be added to a database and possibly penalized at a later date, a rights lawyer, Evgeny Smirnov, told TV Rain. Mr. Navalny’s organization shared information offering legal consultations to people planning to mourn him.



12) Shrinkflation 101: The Economics of Smaller Groceries

Have you noticed your grocery products shrinking? Here’s how that gets counted — and what gets missed — in inflation data.

By Jeanna Smialek, March 1, 2024


A photo illustration of a person’s hand against an orange-red background, with the thumb and forefinger lifting a tiny paper bag of groceries.

Illustration by Guillem Casasus; Photographs by Getty Images

Grocery store shoppers are noticing something amiss. Air-filled bags of chips. Shrunken soup cans. Diminished detergent packages.


Companies are downsizing products without downsizing prices, and consumer posts from Reddit to TikTok to the New York Times comments section drip with indignation at the trend, widely known as “shrinkflation.”


The practice isn’t new. Sellers have been quietly shrinking products to avoid raising prices for centuries, and experts think it has been an obvious corporate strategy since at least 1988, when Chock Full o’Nuts cut its one-pound coffee canister to 13 ounces and its competitors followed suit.


But outrage today is acute. President Biden tapped into the angst in a recent video. (“What makes me the most angry is that ice cream cartons have actually shrunk in size, but not in price,” he lamented.) Companies themselves are blasting the practice in marketing gimmicks. One Canadian chain unveiled a growflation pizza. (“In pizza terms,” the company’s news release quipped, “a larger slice of the pie.”)


But how does shrinkflation work, economically? Is it happening more often in the United States, and if so, does that mean official data are failing to capture the true extent of inflation? Below is an explainer of the trend — and what it means for your wallet.


Shrinkflation was rampant in 2016.


It might be hard to believe, but shrinkflation appears to be happening less often today than it was a few years ago.


The government adjusts official inflation data to account for product downsizing, and the data collectors who monitor for size adjustments caught fewer instances of shrinking household goods and groceries in 2023 than a few years earlier.


Downsizing was frequent back in 2016, when overall inflation was low. It became rarer after the start of the pandemic in 2020, and more recently it has begun returning to prepandemic levels, analysts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. (The economists noted that the set of products being measured changed somewhat over the years, making comparisons across time more a rough approximation than an exact science.)


But the magnitude for some products is more extreme now.


Even if downsizing is not happening as often, shrinkflation today is having a big impact in a few key categories, including sweets, detergent and toilet paper.


From 2019 to 2023, shrinkage added about 3.6 percentage points to inflation for products like paper towels and toilet paper, up from 1.2 percentage points from 2015 to 2019. Shrinkflation has also contributed more heavily to price increases in both candy and cleaning products in recent years.


For snacks, shrinking sizes added 2.6 percentage points to inflation, roughly in line with how much they contributed from 2015 to 2019. The government has not yet released an analysis on how much shrinkflation contributed to overall inflation from 2019 to 2023.


While ‘shrinkflation’ gets measured, ‘skimpflation’ does not.


Shrinking itself is captured in official inflation data, but another sneaky force that costs consumers is getting missed in the statistics. Companies sometimes use cheaper materials to save on costs in a practice some call “skimpflation.” That is much harder for the government to measure.


If your paper towel roll costs the same but you’re getting fewer sheets — shrinkflation — that shows up clearly as a unit cost increase that is added to official inflation. If your paper towels are the same size but are suddenly made of worse material — skimpflation — the government does not record that as inflation.


In fact, food and household products broadly are not directly adjusted for quality changes other than size and weight, government statisticians said. So if your microwave dinner brand starts using vegetable instead of olive oil, or if your formerly resealable package loses its zipper, that won’t show up.


Companies do this because it works.


Companies choose to shrink their products rather than charge more for a simple reason: Consumers often pay more attention to prices than sizes.


When quantity goes down, “people might notice, but often, they don’t,” said John Gourville, a professor at Harvard Business School. “You don’t get sticker shock.”


In one famous example, Dannon used to sell yogurts in larger containers than its competitor Yoplait — eight ounces versus six. Consumers were convinced that Dannon’s yogurt was more expensive, not picking up on the fact that it was simply bigger. Eventually, Mr. Gourville said, the company caved and shrank its packaging.


“Sales of Dannon’s yogurt, which declined immediately after the size reduction, have since rebounded,” The Times reported in 2003. “And Dannon is now pocketing a larger profit on every cup of yogurt it sells.”


Not all size changes are created equal. Some can be surreptitious, like increasing the size of an indentation in the bottom of a jar or shaving the corners from a bar of soap. Consumers have a particularly difficult time recognizing size changes when they happen along three dimensions, said Nailya Ordabayeva, an associate professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business who has studied consumer responses.


“The brain is hard-wired to do simpler heuristics,” she explained.


Plus, she noted, consumers might be willing to accept smaller quantities or even prefer them in some cases. Junk food products have at times shrunk to get down calorie counts, for example.


Still, consumers might push back.


When companies are merely looking after their profits — not their consumers — some pricing experts worry that persistent shrinkflation could drive shoppers away.


When raw material costs were climbing and inflation was in the headlines, consumers most likely understood that companies needed to pass some of those increases along. They may even have preferred smaller products to bigger price tags, several experts said.


But now, overall inflation has been cooling: After peaking at 9.1 percent in July 2022, it had eased to 3.1 percent as of January. And consumers might be less willing to accept shrinkflation now that firms are facing less severe cost pressures, especially because food company profits have been — and in many cases remain — high.


They may simply feel ripped off.


“I can see consumers becoming more and more aware of the existence of shrinkflation,” said Jun Yao, a marketing lecturer at Macquarie University in Australia who has studied the trend.


And as more chains and online retailers post unit costs, shoppers may be more attuned to size changes, Mr. Yao said, an awareness that could beat back against future shrinkage.


The practice, he said, “can backfire — and damage the brand image.”



13) ‘This Is for Gaza’: George Galloway, Leftist Firebrand, Wins U.K. Seat

As the Mideast conflict reverberates through British politics, the populist politician with a history of inflammatory statements about Israel won a special election in northern England.

"On Friday, he used a characteristically crude image to equate Mr. Starmer’s policy with that of Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, calling them 'two cheeks of the same backside.'”

By Stephen Castle, Published Feb. 29, 2024, Updated March 1, 2024, Reporting from London


George Galloway, in a black brimmed hat, holds his arm aloft and smiles in the middle of a group of people celebrating.

George Galloway, in his trademark fedora, after winning an election for the parliamentary seat in Rochdale, England, on Thursday. Credit...Peter Byrne/Press Association, via Associated Press

As he celebrated victory early Friday after winning a parliamentary election, George Galloway, a veteran left-wing firebrand, directed his attack squarely at the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party.


“Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza,” Mr. Galloway said, wearing the fedora hat that has become his trademark. “You have paid, and you will pay, a high price for the role you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on.”


Mr. Galloway won the election — for a seat in Rochdale, north of Manchester, that had previously been held by Labour — after a chaotic campaign that became emblematic of the anger that has swept through British politics over the war in Gaza.


Voting took place on Thursday to replace Tony Lloyd, a Labour Party lawmaker who had represented the district but died of blood cancer in January. Mr. Galloway achieved a clear victory, with 12,335 votes.


Mr. Galloway, founder of the far-left Workers Party of Britain, once represented Labour in Parliament, but he was forced out of the party in 2003 over his outspoken criticism of the Iraq war.


Victory in Rochdale was the latest act of revenge from a maverick politician who had run in several previous elections against his former party, sometimes successfully. Mr. Galloway has a long history of fierce and at times inflammatory rhetoric, and he has a flair for generating publicity.


He met with Saddam Hussein in 1994, for example, telling the Iraqi dictator, “I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”


In 2003, he referred to Tony Blair, then Britain’s prime minister, and George W. Bush, then the U.S. president, as “wolves” for invading Iraq, and he urged British troops to ignore military orders that he called illegal. Mr. Galloway was forced out of the Labour Party later that year but, with the turmoil that unfolded after the invasion, he had a powerful issue on which to campaign. He went on to win parliamentary seats in 2005 in Bethnal Green in eastern London, and in 2012 in Bradford West, in northern England, both times for the Respect Party.


In 2009, while he was a member of Parliament, Mr. Galloway was criticized by a British media regulator for breaking impartiality rules during programs he presented on Press TV, an Iranian state-owned network.


For a time, he appeared regularly on Russia Today, declaring tens of thousands of pounds in income from the broadcaster in 2014 and 2015. Not all of his media appearances have been political, however. In 2006, he appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother,” a reality TV show in Britain, where at one point he surprised viewers by role playing as a cat and pretending to lick milk from another contestant’s hands.


In Rochdale, Labour had inadvertently made it easier for Mr. Galloway when it was forced to suspend its own candidate, Azhar Ali, essentially leaving the seat undefended. Mr. Ali had been recorded claiming that Israel had “allowed” Hamas to go ahead with the Oct. 7 attacks as a pretext to invade Gaza. He later issued a statement saying that he apologized “unreservedly to the Jewish community for my comments which were deeply offensive, ignorant, and false.”


The debacle was a particular embarrassment for Mr. Starmer, who has made a big push to root out the antisemitism that afflicted Labour under the leadership of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.


To make matters worse, by the time Mr. Starmer acted against Mr. Ali, it was too late to replace him, and his name remained on the ballot for the Thursday election, attracting 2,402 votes. David Tully, an independent, came second with 6,638 votes.


Not for the first time in his career, Mr. Galloway appealed directly to Muslim voters, who make up around 30 percent of the electorate in Rochdale. Many of them have expressed anger about the rising death toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza and want Britain to press harder for an immediate cease-fire.


In his campaign literature, Mr. Galloway described Mr. Starmer as a “top supporter of Israel” and suggested his leadership could be weakened by the outcome of the vote. “Imagine — the people of Rochdale coming together to topple the hated Labour leader,” the leaflet said.


That prospect may be fanciful as recent polling suggests that voters favor Mr. Starmer over other leading politicians, while Labour appears to have a strong lead ahead of a national election expected this year.


Referring to Mr. Galloway, Robert Ford, a professor of political science at Manchester University, said, “He’s a one-off, you can’t clone him.”


“He does have a remarkable campaigning ability, he’s very good at intuiting the emotive lines that will land in any particular context, and he’s proved that again,” Professor Ford added.


While Mr. Galloway’s success is therefore unlikely to be repeated elsewhere, there are still some implications for Labour. “It’s going to affect internal Labour party politics in the run-up to the election; it’s going to affect the conversations about how to fight the general election campaign,” Professor Ford said.


Returning to Parliament, Mr. Galloway is likely to do his best to be a thorn in Labour’s side and to try to exploit internal party tensions over the Middle East.


On Friday, he used a characteristically crude image to equate Mr. Starmer’s policy with that of Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, calling them “two cheeks of the same backside.”


“They both got well and truly spanked tonight here in Rochdale,” Mr. Galloway said.


The one bright spot for Mr. Starmer is that, with the general election looming, Mr. Galloway will have to battle for re-election soon if he wants to stay a lawmaker for more than a few months.



14) Pro-Palestinian Rally Becomes Mass Subway Ride to Confront Kathy Hochul

After a rally at Union Square in Manhattan, hundreds of demonstrators flooded a subway platform, took a train downtown and marched to a restaurant where the governor of New York was to speak.

By Eliza Fawcett, Published Feb. 29, 2024, Updated March 1, 2024


On a city street at night, people stand atop a bronze statue of a bull, holding up Palestinian flags, as others watch and some hold up cellphones.

People climbed the Charging Bull sculpture during a pro-Palestinian protest near Wall Street. Credit...Adam Gray for The New York Times

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Union Square in Manhattan on Thursday evening, then flooded a subway platform and rode a train to the financial district, where they condemned U.S. military aid to Israel and took aim at Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York as she delivered remarks at a Wall Street restaurant.


The protest, organized by the activist group Within Our Lifetime, began with a 6 p.m. rally in Union Square that drew about 400 people, many wearing kaffiyehs and carrying Palestinian flags. Protesters then surged into the Union Square subway station and rode a No. 5 train en masse to Wall Street, chanting and placing stickers with slogans on the car’s walls.


They disembarked and marched toward Cipriani Wall Street, where Ms. Hochul was scheduled to appear. Finding a police barricade outside the restaurant, they circled the area repeatedly, at times clashing with the police.


The demonstration was the latest of hundreds of protests throughout New York City since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Those attacks killed at least 1,200 Israelis, according to Israeli officials; Israel’s subsequent military operation in Gaza has killed 30,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health officials. The mounting death toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza have prompted international calls for a cease-fire.


Near Cipriani on Thursday, at least one demonstrator was arrested by police officers. At least half a dozen people were arrested during a scuffle with officers at the intersection of Broadway and Vesey Street. In the chaos, a few protesters fell to the ground. Others were slammed onto the street by officers, their wrists were zip-tied, and they were taken to a waiting N.Y.P.D. van.


The police had taken a forceful approach to countering demonstrators on the block surrounding the restaurant. At one point, about 50 officers, many clad in riot gear, followed the demonstrators through the streets, demanding that they stay on the sidewalks and warning of possible arrests.


Nerdeen Kiswani, an organizer with Within Our Lifetime, told the crowd outside Cipriani that the group had chosen to target Ms. Hochul over her statements about the war, referring to remarks the governor made in February implying that Israel would be justified in destroying Gaza. (Ms. Hochul later apologized for the remarks.)


“Kathy Hochul, you can’t hide, you support genocide,” the marchers chanted outside the restaurant.


Earlier, at the Union Square rally, demonstrators condemned Israeli attacks on Palestinians and directed anger at President Biden, chanting, “Genocide Joe has got to go.”


Addressing the crowd, Ms. Kiswani emphasized the growing hunger crisis in Gaza, calling attention to the deaths of more than a hundred Palestinians there on Thursday when a crowd gathered near aid trucks and Israeli forces opened fire. The United Nations recently warned that at least a quarter of Gaza’s population is “one step away from famine.” Rally organizers on Thursday threw flour on the ground, to highlight the ease of food access in the United States, compared with the scarcity of provisions in Gaza.


“Children are beginning to die — they have been dying from the bombs and bullets dropped on them by Israel — but now they are dying of starvation,” Ms. Kiswani said.


The self-immolation of Aaron Bushnell, a U.S. airman, outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., earlier in the week loomed over the demonstration as well. One protester held a sign that read “RIP Aaron Bushnell.”


“Some may see his act of self-immolation as an extreme political act,” Ms. Kiswani said. “But he said himself it’s not extreme at all compared to what the people of Gaza have had to endure.”


After the arrests on Thursday evening, the march drifted toward Foley Square and dissipated around 9:30 p.m.


In recent months, protesters in New York, many calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, have gathered almost daily, sometimes blocking bridges and roadways. Some have targeted elected officials who have expressed support for Israel in the war and have accepted donations from pro-Israel groups.


Last week, demonstrators marched from the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan to the headquarters of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, and then to a building where Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have offices; some were arrested in the building’s lobby while calling on the senators to support a cease-fire.



15) U.S. Airman’s Winding Path Ended in Self-Immolation to Protest Israel

Aaron Bushnell, the cyberdefense operations specialist who lit himself on fire to protest Israel’s killing of Palestinians, had left an isolated Christian community for the Air Force before turning to activism.

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Colbi Edmonds, Feb. 28, 2024


A photo of Aaron Bushnell hangs next to a Palestinian flag with lighted candles nearby.

Vigils have been held in several cities, including in New York on Tuesday, for Aaron Bushnell, after he lit himself on fire outside of the Israeli embassy. Credit...Adam Gray/Reuters

Dressed in his U.S. Air Force uniform, Aaron Bushnell walked up to the Israeli embassy in Washington one afternoon this week and calmly described his intention to “engage in an extreme act of protest” against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.


He proceeded to pour a flammable liquid over his buzz-cut head, pulled his camouflage cap tightly over his forehead and lit himself on fire. “Free Palestine!” he shouted several times before collapsing onto the cement.


In the days since his stunning act, which Mr. Bushnell captured on a livestream, friends and relatives have been trying to understand how a young man they once knew as a shy, thoughtful boy in an isolated Christian community in Massachusetts, who went on to become a senior airman working on cyberdefense in Texas, came to mount such a final, fatal protest.


“It’s hard to wrap my head around,” said Ashley Schuman, 26, who has known Mr. Bushnell since childhood. “I’m just like, ‘How? How did you get here?’”


Mr. Bushnell’s self-immolation has spurred a flurry of vigils in his honor, prompted new protests against Israel’s attacks and led to criticism from some who viewed the protest as a suicidal act that should not be celebrated.


His was the second such protest in the United States in recent months. In December, a woman with a Palestinian flag lit herself on fire outside of the Israeli consulate building in Atlanta; she was not identified, and she has remained hospitalized, currently listed in stable condition. On Wednesday, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, asked the Defense Department whether Mr. Bushnell had ever shown any “extremist leanings” in the past.


Recent writings from Mr. Bushnell, 25, suggest that he had carefully planned his action to focus attention on Israel’s assault on Palestinians in Gaza, where the local health ministry says nearly 30,000 Palestinians have been killed. Israel launched its campaign in October after a Hamas-led attack in which roughly 1,200 Israelis were killed and about 250 more people were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.


In the hours before Mr. Bushnell’s protest, he sent an email to several independent news outlets with the subject line “Against genocide” that included a link to a website where a video of his self-immolation later appeared. “I ask that you make sure that the footage is preserved and reported on,” he wrote. Mr. Bushnell had also sent a will to a friend in recent days, allocating his possessions.


In recent years, according to those who knew him, Mr. Bushnell had grown increasingly distant from both his conservative upbringing and his career in the military, throwing himself into leftist and anarchist activism, talking often about alleviating poverty and opposing capitalism. Along the way, he came to reject the small, deeply religious enclave along Cape Cod Bay where he was raised, friends said.


Some former members of the neighborhood, known as the Community of Jesus, have alleged that they were psychologically abused. Mr. Bushnell’s family members have not spoken publicly, and a woman who answered the phone at the listed number for the Community of Jesus declined to respond or take a message.


Ms. Schuman, who, like Mr. Bushnell, was born into the community, said both of them dealt with anxiety in their teenage years from the high expectations and tight restrictions imposed by the community’s leaders and teachers. They attended a communal home-school there, although Mr. Bushnell also spent a year at the public high school.


In the summer of 2016, after graduating high school, he visited Israel and the West Bank on a trip led by the Community of Jesus that brought members to historic locations in the Bible, Ms. Schuman said. She did not recall any significant discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the trip, but said that the students spent a day in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and spoke with several students at Bethlehem University, a Catholic college there.


“I know that trip meant a lot to every single one of us in the group,” she said.


In the years after Ms. Schuman and Mr. Bushnell graduated high school, they each began to consider whether to remain in the community. The community’s constitution, known as “The Rule of Life,” describes a system of advancement in which adherents can, over several years, reach a status that includes taking a vow of membership “for life.” Instead, Mr. Bushnell told Ms. Schuman in the fall of 2019 that he would be leaving.


He moved out of the community, where he had lived with his parents and younger brother, and worked at a pawnshop elsewhere in Massachusetts for a brief period before beginning active duty in the Air Force in May 2020, stationed in San Antonio.


Ms. Schuman, who had also chosen to leave the community, said they spoke regularly by phone about handling the transition; Mr. Bushnell told her that he had been talking to a therapist and urged her to also see one, she said.


In their calls, Mr. Bushnell told Ms. Schuman that he spent most of his working hours behind a computer. He often sounded stressed, she said, and seemed to lack the enthusiasm that he had shown during boot camp or back in school, when he was a quiet boy who would grow passionate about history lessons and C.S. Lewis novels.


Away from work, he seemed increasingly intent on solving the problem of homelessness. Ms. Schuman said she grew concerned when Mr. Bushnell told her that he had been sending a substantial amount of money to a woman in another state who said she was a homeless mother. Ms. Schuman believed the two had never met.


Into 2021, Mr. Bushnell still spoke of possibly returning to the commune on Cape Cod one day, something that was difficult for Ms. Schuman to hear as she sought a new life away from it. Eventually, they stopped speaking.


Another friend said that Mr. Bushnell complained mildly about his Air Force job — shifting schedules, lack of sleep — and occasionally spoke of his disagreements with the U.S. military over past conflicts, such as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.


In November 2022, fresh off a vacation to Hawaii with his younger brother, Mr. Bushnell showed up alone at an event hosted by the Party for Socialism and Liberation in San Antonio, where he quickly made a new group of friends.


Lupe Barboza, 32, said she and her friends invited him to join their mutual aid group’s weekly visits to homeless encampments. She said Mr. Bushnell told her group, known as San Antonio Collective Care, that his political views had shifted drastically not long after joining the military.


“He said that he kind of went from one extreme — the conservative beliefs that he had grown up around — to the opposite, forming his anarchist, anti-imperialist values,” Ms. Barboza said. “And he said it was a very quick shift, and he just said it went from one extreme to the other.”


Mr. Bushnell volunteered to help with the mutual aid group’s internal communications and mission statement. He set up a discussion channel on Discord, a messaging app, and initiated a “constitutionalizing” effort, drawing up a list of questions for members to answer in writing.


“I would like to think that I bring to the table an open mind, a desire to help people and to learn, and a commitment to radical ideals,” he wrote in one of his own responses, in February 2023.


He also wrote about being frustrated over his difficulty connecting with new people.


“While I care deeply about people, I tend to find social interactions very challenging, especially with strangers or anyone I’m not close with,” he said.


But soon after leading that endeavor, he announced that he needed to take a step back from the group because he was dealing with some trauma from his past that had resurfaced, Ms. Barboza said. Still, he kept in touch with many of his friends in the group.


He told them he was looking forward to leaving the military when his enlistment was up in the spring of this year, Ms. Barboza said. On his LinkedIn profile, he wrote that he was “truly passionate about writing software and can’t wait to help drive innovation in the civilian world.”


Late last year, Mr. Bushnell had decided that he would move to Ohio to participate in the military’s SkillBridge program, which allows members nearing the end of their service to be paid while training with or working for private companies. He made a flier asking someone to take his cat, Sugar, and sang old songs — a Bon Jovi tune among them — at a karaoke send-off hosted by his friends.


Friends in San Antonio said he did not share with them the nature of the past trauma that he was dealing with.


Susan Wilkins, 59, who also lived in the Community of Jesus from 1970 to 2005 before abandoning it, said she was not close with Mr. Bushnell and his family but knew them and worried that he might not have had adequate support to transition into a less-structured world.


“I can see that if you’ve grown up in a somewhat restrictive environment, anarchy has attractions,” she said.


Ms. Schuman, like other former community members, has struggled to understand Mr. Bushnell’s fatal protest.


“The extreme measures, I will never be able to get behind that,” she said. “But from where we grew up, and having no say in what we really wanted or believed in, it is admirable what he did for people who don’t have a voice right now.”


Air Force officials have not discussed the incident in detail. When a reporter asked the Air Force’s top spokesman this week whether Mr. Bushnell’s protest might signify a broader discord within the ranks over civilian deaths in Gaza, he declined to directly answer.


“This certainly is a tragic event,” Maj. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder said at a news conference. “We do extend our condolences to the airman’s family.”


Eric Schmitt contributed reporting. Kirsten Noyes contributed research.